Confidence, Body confidence and Body confidence after Baby.

I have always struggled with my confidence. Not just body confidence but overall confidence in myself and my abilities (sometimes for good reason… ie driving). “You need to be more confident” is often the ‘helpful’ advice I have been given by well meaning individuals. But how? How do you suddenly start believing in yourself? Suddenly feel like you can achieve anything and everything that you want? Don’t worry I am not going to go all ‘self help’ book on you here, I’m certainly not qualified for the job! But I thought I would just talk about my experience with confidence, particularly body confidence seeing as this is a fitness blog of sorts.

For me how confident I feel has nothing to do with how much I weigh or what dress size I fit. I have been both heavier and lighter than my current weight and if anything I would say that getting to a point where I was probably a little bit too thin for my body frame and BMI made me less confident than ever. We live in a culture where it’s sought after to have a slimmer body. The majority of mainstream models are all slim, most celebrities are slim and the people we see on our television screens of reality tv shows such as ‘Love Island’ (which I am absolutely addicted to btw…Marcel and Gabby to win!) are all full of beautiful, slender, young bodies. This can leave us staring mournfully at our own figures in the mirror and wishing that we were seeing something else. I am speaking for myself here, especially when looking at my body post baby. In addition to this social media is more popular than ever before and it’s all too easy for people to ‘doctor’ and edit images to unachievable standards that leave the rest of us feeling a bit inadequate.

What helps me feel confident? Well first of all despite the addition of looser skin and slightly saggier boobs (sorry just keeping it real here) having my son has made me feel more confident about myself. My body (granted with a bit of help) made a miniature human, it then nourished and carried this human to term and then brought him into the world! And it now still feeds him now, as I have been lucky enough to have been able to exclusively breastfeed him since he was born. Every mum out there deserves to feel proud of their body because when you think about it, it’s done an amazing, amazing thing. Next, and this sounds massively clichĂ©, but ‘confidence comes from the inside’. This is so, so true. It’s not about a number on the scales, it’s not about a dress size, it’s about how you really FEEL about yourself. You need to love yourself to be confident. And I don’t mean in a big-headed, massively arrogant way but you need to appreciate and love your body and everything it does for you. Treat it with respect, fuel it with healthy foods, exercise it. Turn that inner voice in your head that tries to make you compare yourself to someone else into your friend. Instead of looking in the mirror at the thing you hate the most about your body try to look at your favorite feature, the bits you like. It’s crazy how we would never dream of insulting or criticising one of our friends for their appearances. We look for the good in them, we compliment them, they are our friends we want to make them feel good. And yet we will completely tear ourselves apart. We need to learn to become friends with our body, accept it flaws and all (because we all have them, even the girl on Instagram you think is ‘perfect’ probably doesn’t like something about herself). If we really don’t like a part of ourselves we need to love ourselves to put the effort in to change it.

Exercise and healthy eating are a massive factor in my confidence. I just feel better in myself when I am working out regularly and eating healthily and although the results of doing so, do reflect in the body I think sometimes the psychological effects are equally important in regards to how we feel. Do I always eat healthily and take the best care of myself? No, definitely not. Today for example I have eaten my bodyweight in pick n’ mix and taken a rest day and that’s okay too. But on the whole if I eat healthily, say 80% of the time and make sure I get my workouts in (which I did Monday and Tuesday and I will tomorrow aswell) I know that I am doing my body good and I just feel better in myself. Healthier, cleaner, more positive about things and more confident. I see my body as a work in progress. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it now, I love my body but I also know that I have my goals that I want to achieve and every workout that I do brings me closer to them. Just because I am not there yet isn’t going to stop me liking myself. If you always live for the day when you will be perfect, be that goal dress size/weight, whatever it is you will always be waiting. We have to live in the now and enjoy the body we have now.

Be a nice person. Even when people are not nice to you. This is probably one of the most important aspects of confidence for me. It sounds really weird but I find that when I am feeling insecure about myself, for example if I am scrolling through Instagram looking at fitness accounts and bodies I perceive to be as pretty close to perfection as it gets, by complimenting others on their achievements, I feel better. If you see somebody who you think is more beautiful, slimmer, more toned (whatever it is) than you, stop allowing that to make you feel inadequate or jealous. Instead acknowledge that, that person looks bloody amazing, and the chances are if they are into fitness then they have worked really hard for it and compliment. Put a nice comment. Say how good they look. The same applies if somebody posts a progress picture or if they are opening up in terms of how hard they are finding something, write some encouraging words. We are all on our own fitness journeys and at different points. We all face our own struggles, have our de-motivated days, it’s nice to feel like you aren’t on your own and sometimes you just need to hear some positive words from somebody, even if you don’t know them that well. I spoke on my earlier post about how much I love Instagram and the lovely support network of people I consider to be friends on there. That’s what social media should be about and what we should all be about, bringing each other up not tearing each other down. There’s so many little quotes I could put here but basically what I am saying is that being a good person makes you feel good. Happier. More confident in yourself. By being a good person you realise that how you look is just one tiny part of you and not something that you should be judged on. Yes it’s nice to look good on the outside but it is so, so much more important to be beautiful on the inside.

Jess xox

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